C.S. Lewis:

If that [to travel hopefully is better than to arrive] were true, and known to be true, how could anyone travel hopefully? There would be nothing to hope for.

Am I missing something here? To paraphrase his own words in rejection to the idea that it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive, if it were known that there was nothing to arrive at how could you travel hopefully? If time continues, we would never reach a complete 'end' but our experiences would ever be evolving and changing. And if there were no time that would be inhuman.

  • 2
    What exactly is your question? Just if you understand CS Lewis correctly on the matter?
    – Matt
    Aug 11, 2013 at 17:13
  • My comment is that the definitions of time from (astro)physics perspective could help: you are right to think that "causality" would necessarily still have to happen.
    – pterandon
    Aug 11, 2013 at 18:11
  • I would say they are different questions. One asks to clarify if two (great) men disagree with eachother and which viewpoint is more reliable...this one is about the possible frustration that might be caused if one of those particular viewpoints is the correct one.
    – Sehnsucht
    Aug 11, 2013 at 22:24
  • This appears to be a general philosophical question. Just because Lewis was a professed Christian does not make what he said something necessarily Christian in nature to discuss. In short, what does this have to do with Christianity and its doctrines?
    – user3961
    Aug 26, 2013 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


Lewis is pointing out that if the object of hope can never be attained as a better state (i.e., it is better to seek with anticipation than to find), then true hope is impossible (with the exclusion of false perception, i.e., "and known to be true"). One cannot hope for a worse state.

One could say that in the glorified state hope is no longer significant. "Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?" (Romans 8:24, ESV) Passing beyond hope does not end joy (but, in this case, makes the joy complete).

With respect to frustration, I am reminded of a comment in G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy in a rather different context:

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

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